The Memphis Tigers and host East Carolina Pirates are both looking for a bounce-back win when they meet Saturday in an American Athletic Conference game in Greenville, N.C.
The Tigers (4-2, 2-1) ended a four-game winning streak by squandering a 19-point fourth-quarter lead last Friday, giving up two touchdowns in the final 1:17 in a 33-32 loss to Houston.
East Carolina (3-3, 1-2) fell to Tulane 24-9 on Saturday, with the Green Wave scoring the game’s final 17 points after the Pirates took a 9-7 first-half lead.
“Nobody’s happy with us being 4-2 right now,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “I’m not happy with our record because we can be better.
“I can come up here and mope around — ‘Oh, woe is me.’ No. It’s got to be, ‘How do we get better? How do we learn from this and how do we fix this?'”
Memphis can start by not allowing 366 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air and giving up a 100-yard kickoff return, which really launched Houston’s big comeback last week.
The Tigers have been much better offensively, with Seth Henigan completing 63.6 percent of his passes for 1,517 yards with 10 touchdowns and just one interception. Three running backs have netted more than 200 yards, with Brandon Thomas scoring seven touchdowns. Tight end Caden Prieskorn has six touchdown receptions as one of four players with at least 19 catches.
East Carolina started 2-1 but has lost two of its past three games. The Pirates are coming off their lowest-scoring output of the season and are looking for quarterback Holton Ahlers to get back on track.
Ahlers’ 1,820 passing yards rank 10th in FBS and his 16 TDs are tied for sixth, in FBS. He has been intercepted six times.
“You know, we’re 3-3 at the halfway point and we have really good football teams on our schedule the rest of the time,” Ahlers said. “I know in that locker room, there’s a lot of guys that care.”
Last year, East Carolina edged Memphis 30-29 in overtime, but the Tigers have won two of the past three meetings, including a 59-41 win in their last trip to Greenville in 2018.
–Field Level Media